Planning a regional response to public health emergencies . Patrick Lenihan, Ph.D

Planning a regional response to
public health emergencies
Patrick Lenihan, Ph.D.
a) How regional preparedness efforts are different from
local readiness initiatives;
b) How regional structures work to prepare and respond
to public health emergencies;
c) Capacities that supported a region’s functioning; and
d) What tools are available for regional preparedness
Regional vs. Individual
The key distinction separating a regional
approach to preparedness from the
approach taken by a single Local Health
Department (LHD) is the need for
coordinated efforts across multiple
Regional vs. Individual
Regional preparedness is more than scaled-up
individual preparedness
Working at a higher level of complexity; not just
a wider area of geography
Regional preparedness more about strategic
planning than operational planning
Factors that impact regional
structure and function
Perception precedes conception: Consider
emergency scenarios
Authority informs type of regional
response: Regional vs. Individual authority
Efficiency, effectiveness, and/or capacity:
What are the needs of the region?
Examples of regional structures
A mandated existing homeland security/emergency
management region/or state health department region in
which the authority lies within the “umbrella” agency.
A formal not-for-profit board structure with a selected
chairperson or president and governing structure;
A more informal coalition, advisory, or taskforce
structure with key positions in which decisions are made
by consensus;
How regions function
Sharing preparedness information (e.g.,
recent reports, grant guidance), approaches
to planning, press releases, exercise results,
or staff organizational charts
Conducting joint exercises, trainings, ‘strike’
or response teams, or a regional project such
as a media campaign.
How regions function
Trainings, planning tools, plan content and format
(such as annexes), resource typing, job action sheets,
and even ‘triage tags’ that emergency medical
services could use throughout the region.
Resources such as a single web portal, an emergency
notification system centralized through a regional
coordinator, a single regional training contractor or
regional staff (e.g.,GIS specialist).
Capacities that Support & Challenge
Regional Functioning
Staff time
Agency support
Leadership body
Established regional relationships
State requirements
Authority to plan and respond
Relationship with the state
Resources to sustain regional work
Project Public Health Ready Helps
Improve Regional Preparedness
Operated by the National Association of County
and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
 Provides a template to structure regional
 Comprehensive “to do” list in the form of criteria
 Established and tested national framework
 National Recognition Program
 Linked to tools and examples
 Network of regional sites for peer assistance